Nothing Left to Fear
October 8, 2013
Jonathan W.C. Mills
Anthony Leonardi III
James Tupper as Dan
Anne Heche as Wendy
Rebekah Brandes as Rebecca
Jennifer Stone as Mary
Clancy Brown as Father Kingsman
Ethan Peck as Noah
Nothing Left to Fear doesn’t exercise the most original content or concepts, there’s no denying that. But it does a lot of things very well, allowing a solid – even if somewhat incomplete, or underdeveloped for that matter – story to gift a handful of quality performers the chance to do something special in front of the camera.
Anytime the name of a rock star is the crux of a film’s marketing campaign, you’ve got to wonder what kind of mess you’re going to stumble into. Rock stars make music, directors make movies and that’s the way life goes, right? Wrong. Sometimes people just have a knack for creating solid motion pictures (or other artistic mediums, for that matter), regardless of past career travels. Slash, former Guns ‘N Roses lead guitarist didn’t direct Nothing Left to Fear, but he did produce it, and he did allow the entire promotional stint to lean on the strength of his name. Fortunately for Slash, the movie is fairly impressive, and isn’t likely to sit as a blemish on the man’s lifetime ledger. If anything, this could be the official birth of an entirely new Slash.
Contrary to what some reviews would indicate, this is actually a fairly slow film. Anthony Leonardi III uses the first hour of the film to introduce us to the story’s characters and their unique idiosyncrasies. And it works quite well. There isn’t much in the way of terror through the first two acts, but the personalities on screen are compelling enough to keep the attention invested. Having said that, all stops are pulled out for the final act. From the intensity of the story to the practical and visual effects, it all comes raining down on viewers as the final 40 minutes fly by. In fact, it could be argued that Leonardi takes things just a tad too far, as he crams enough black-wall visual effects to make a J-Horror fanatic fall into a joy-induced coma. The nod to Japanese work won’t go lost on anyone, and while that’s not typically my personal flavor, it doesn’t feel out of place in this instance. There’s a strong enough balance of digital and practical work to avoid isolating vintage purists or new age visionaries, and some of the makeup work is flat out admirable.
The story deposits one happy family in a small rural town, thousands of miles away from their accustomed life and abode. Dan, the father of the troupe is a pastor, and he’s made his way to this quaint little town to head the church. But what Dan doesn’t know, and what his family doesn’t know (that quite literally everyone else in town does), is that they’ve actually been lured there to serve as a sacrifice to an ancient evil that will not rest without a dose of familial plasma.
The film doesn’t exercise the most original content or concepts, there’s no denying that. But it does a lot of things very well, allowing a solid – even if somewhat incomplete, or underdeveloped for that matter – story to gift a handful of quality performers the chance to do something special in front of the camera, and it brings some jarring visuals to the screen to boot. Clancy Brown stands in as the focal human antagonist, and he delivers with conviction. Rebekah Brandes is not only one of the sexiest women on the planet, she can also act. She’s a fine final girl that offers a convincing enough job to make cheering for her effortless. Anne Heche, Jennifer Stone, Ethan Peck and James Tupper are all strong supporting performers that round out a very respectable, even if low key group. And as for those visuals, well, the magic waits in the makeup and a few transformation sequences which look surprisingly eerie and – at times – quite realistic.
Nothing Left to Fear runs into the occasional hiccup, and it isn’t going to do much for anyone anticipating breakneck terror simply because Slash was involved. This isn’t Slash’s movie it’s Anthony Leonardi III’s movie, and Anthony deserves a lot of credit for putting together a piece of film worthy of watching. Easing off of the CGI’d infectious blackness that swarms the final reel could have strengthened the production, and maybe a little gratuitous nudity would have felt fitting (okay, I admit that’s just wishful thinking that Brandes might sign a contract that involves a little T&A), but all in all, there isn’t much about the flick that really cries out for alteration. This is low budget filmmaking with a lot of talent behind it, and that equates to quality entertainment in this book. If you feel like really spicing up an evening, watch this one directly after checking out The Shrine. They’re both pics that function on a similar wave length, and they both make the absolute best from significant limitations.